While it was fascinating for me to watch a stern-looking lawyer or wall-street guy transform into a playful girl clad in pink, I became interested in what drove their need. As my practice progressed and my approach to kink grew more refined, I began to implement preliminary consultations as a way of offering a more holistic (and therefore more meaningful) experience. I would familiarize myself with the personality of each client in order to obtain a broader picture of why he is so attracted to exploring this type of kink. During our first consultation, Michael would speak in a very serious, businesslike manner, describing himself as a successful executive and listing all his credentials and achievements to underscore his point. Meeting him, I felt as though I was at a board meeting. He was doing his best to sound just right, yet he was so uptight, his face lifeless. I wanted him to relax a bit and open up, so I tried to smile, joke, and share some of my personal stories. I kept expecting him to match my more casual tone, but he was reluctant. I finally asked him to share his agenda for seeing me and inquired what his fantasy was like. With the same straight face, he said “I’d like to be dressed-up in pink lingerie or a leopard dress, to be called a slut, and to be face slapped.” Still, his face was numb, energetically he remained the same. I inquired directly: “Where is the aliveness in this? Why are you not showing any feeling when we speak? Is there a reason for such mistrust when, after all, you came to see me in order to expose your vulnerable side?” He responded that his father educated him very early in life about how to be successful in business, and had told him the key was never to show your weakness to others, including your feelings and emotions. Things became clearer and I invited him to my space to play.
When we began our actual play, I took my time with a slow relaxation ritual. Tuning my breath into his, feeling him energetically as I held him by the shoulders from behind, while he was naked and kneeling. I used a very sensual bondage tie to make him feel safe and nourished. This allowed his breathing to become deeper and longer, his jaws unclenched and his body grew less tense. A major transformation, however, took place as soon as I changed him into pink lingerie. The change was instant. The serious-businessman mask was gone, his eyes began to shine, I had the impression that a new battery had been placed into him. He now spoke in a very melodic voice, almost songlike. He became animated and moved a lot so I suggested he do some catwalking for me, I was half joking, but he enthusiastically complied. Michael’s alterego, Michaella, was full of erotic energy. She wanted to move her hips a lot, she was constantly playing with her nipples, she wanted to play a seductress and so her catwalk turned into a lapdance. She was swept away by her fiery wave and I was directing it swiftly so as to keep it burning in the right places and ways. The unearthed aliveness had so much explosive power in it, that he seemed just shaken open from inside, like the strong initial rush of an Extasy pill. The energy was enormous. He rejoiced in his expressiveness. We ended up dancing together, at first to some wild beats and eventually ending with more soothing and romantic music. Finally he was exhausted and fell asleep in his savasana.
When he awoke I offered him tea. I could see that he was back to his “normal” persona. He became embarrassed about being dressed up and rushed to the bathroom to change. When he emerged, he had the same straight face he had at the restaurant when we first met. “Wow, I already miss that dancing queen,” I exclaimed and he looked down, irritated, as if I had made a sarcastic remark, and then he quickly switched the subject to a neutral one. His neutral subject of choice was the topic of his expertise, taxes, and before I called for it to stop, he began to educate me on how to do my taxes. Now it was my turn to be irritated, and I gently but firmly ushered him out. I felt a bit sad. All these beautiful revelations, powerful energy, and he is in denial. I’m sure his impulse will call him to crossdress again, but again he’ll treat it like a dream or a trip that has nothing to do with his reality. For me, on the other hand, this journey into his alter ego was a clear calling from his subconscious, which needed acknowledgement, respect and understanding.
Michael’s was a rather uncommon situation - where someone chooses total separation from his own alter ego. Other crossdressers prefer to get close and personal with their second personality. Larry, the man who introduced me to the world of kink in New York City, is an example of someone who has spent a fair amount of time negotiating his boundaries with his other personality, Lora. Larry is an alpha guy, a talented builder, serious motocrosser, and the father of two athletic boys. Lora is an elegant woman, very feminine and submissive, and a total slut. These two characters share the same vehicle, a male body, and each wanted total ownership of it. Lora craved a sex-change so that she can be expressed shamelessly full-time. Larry wanted to remain a motocrosser and avoid serious medical procedures. The journey of trying to understand his own gender identity took him to Peru where he hiked the Andes exploring ancient medicine in search of an answer. Finally, Lora and Larry were able to speak and find their resolution. Larry kept his male body intact while Lora needed to be, and would be, played out from time to time.
I had many different encounters with Lora. She was very playful with diverse interests. She enjoyed exploring pain, bondage, humiliation. She enjoyed sensual tease as well as harsh treatments, she could take electric torture as well as tickle abuse. She basically enjoyed passively receiving any kind of attention, she desired to be desired in all kinds of different ways. When Larry would return, Lora wouldn’t just disappear. She would appear in a more subtle form whenever we had a feminie chat about beauty and guys for example. While more rugged alpha men were usually dismissive or annoyed by this kind of talk, Larry would embrace it with understanding. Feminine qualities such as gentleness with children, fluidity in conversations, sensitivity to feelings, a subtle esthetic understanding of beauty, the ability to expose his own or empathise with others’ vulnerabilities - these were the benefits of having Lora side by side with Larry. Larry would emerge full-power during intellectual debates when mental sharpness was required, and during motorcrossing gigs when courage and determination were necessary qualities. Overall, I found him to be a harmonious example of integrated inner characters. As I went deeper, however, toward the end of my career, aided by all kinds of studies and inner explorations, I began to see various limitations to Larry’s kind of balance. Sure, this level of integration was enough to keep one functioning but how about evolving? Besides, as is commonly the case for crossdressers, there is an addictive tendency to demand ever more exciting adventures. Lora demanded more. She wanted new partners, more pain, more humiliation, more risk. Larry wasn’t at ease with her, and he wasn't fully content without a good dose of “high” for Lora. Something felt trapped there, and although he did a good job managing it well, he wasn’t free.
What was this feminine side really all about? Was it actually an inner woman? Why did they go to such dramatic lengths for her to be seen? Does it mean that to be a well-balanced individual, one has to go to such erotic-exhibitionist extremes in order to claim that balance? Does it mean that the ideal wife would need to walk her man on a leash in fishnet stockings in order for him to embrace his feminine and let go and surrender? Something felt unresolved and I couldn't find any clarification in femdom literature or psychology. I came to notice eventually that this type of crossdresser expressiveness can certainly be beneficial when it’s not the end result, but rather a milestone on the path. Life is not something that ever becomes resolved, figured out, and stable (only death is all that). Life is inherently ever deepening.
When I finally grew bored and exhausted from entertaining my crossdressers in all manner of wildly creative ways, I began to ask - now what? Is this it, is the puzzle solved? It didn’t feel solved, neither for me nor for my crossdressers, but we just didn’t know any better. This precipitated my concluding crisis with Domme work, when I finally exhausted myself and couldn't find the enthusiasm to keep playing. Many of my cross dressers, however, weren’t ready to let me go and asked to just spend some time together to smooth out our separation. When I started seeing them in casual settings, for talk instead of play, the flow took us toward more mindful analysis, either in conversation or during a spontaneous guided imagery self-exploration. To our surprise, these unplanned inner journeys proved revelatory. I was able to see that the constant playing-out of an alter ego would become a distraction from or postponement of the recognition of the real calling underneath it. The alterego’s play is usually so bright, dramatic, ecstatic, and therefore addictive, that one has to really get burned out in order to move beyond it. If this finally happens, however, you get the opportunity to glean something more subtle and profound.